By Jim Kouri
While the Obama White House denies claims of fudged immigration statistics and de facto amnesty by presidential fiat, on Wednesday the District of Columbia became a “sanctuary city” for illegal aliens without comment by leaders of either political party.
D.C.’s Mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order to ban police officers from making inquiries into a person’s immigration status. While most foreign countries regularly ask visitors to display their passports and visas, the capital of the United States now prohibits such requests by law enforcement.
According to Gray’s executive order, the District’s law enforcement officers are prohibited from inquiring about the immigration status of individuals or to share information about immigration status with federal agencies except when that status pertains directly to a criminal investigation.
“This executive order ensures public safety by ensuring that our police resources are deployed wisely and our immigrant communities feel safe [in] cooperating with those who are sworn to protect them,” Gray said in a press statement.
Mayor Gray’s order directs police officials not to detain suspected illegal aliens on the basis of immigration status. It also forbids law enforcement agencies from making incarcerated youth and adults in their custody available to federal immigration enforcement officials for interviews without a court order.
The D.C. “sanctuary policy” is the opposite of the strict immigration laws in states such as Arizona and Alabama.
The recently implemented Alabama immigration law requires police officers, in the course of any lawful “stop, detention or arrest,” to make a “reasonable attempt” to determine a person’s citizenship or immigration status.
Observers believe Mayor Gray is attempting to duplicate the San Francisco policy in which Sheriff Michael Hennessey withdrew from a federally mandated program — that checks criminals’ immigration status –because it violates San Francisco’s sanctuary policies.
Sheriff Hennessey is hailed as a progressive law enforcement commander since he operates the county jails and he gained an exemption from a Homeland Security Department program (Secure Communities) that requires local authorities to check the fingerprints of arrestees against a federal database.
The idea of Secure Communities, which is run by the Homeland Security Department’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement directorate, or ICE, is to deport dangerous criminal aliens, many of whom have fallen through the cracks over the years, according to officials from a public-interest group that investigates political corruption, Judicial Watch.
But Hennessey is outspoken about his belief that complying with Secure Communities — a federal law — violates San Francisco’s longtime sanctuary law, which forbids public employees and police from asking anyone about their immigration status.
“I can understand San Francisco having such a policy with its leftist leanings, but Washington, D.C.? Our nation’s capital is now a sanctuary city? In other words, cities are now permitted to cooperate with the feds only when its leaders agree with the federal law in question,” said former NYPD detective and military intelligence officer Mike Snopes.